Six ways to sustainably wrap your gifts

Have you ever wondered if your gift wrap is recyclable? Well… the answer is not always. Despite having the word ‘paper’ in it’s name, wrapping paper often contains heavy dyes and plastic elements which make it non-recyclable. But there’s no need to get your tinsel in a tangle – we’ve got you covered with some chic and sustainable alternative gift wrapping options below.

1. Reusable and recyclable cardboard boxes 

Boxes that are not coated in a shiny finish are more likely to be recyclable and give that warm vintage feel. Boxes are also great because your recipient can reuse them next year.

If you want to wrap over the top of your box to add some artistic flare, check out points 3 and 4 below, or dig out your old paint set.

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2. Cloth bags

Make or purchase reusable cloth bags. These are especially good for items such as jewellery, small books, gourmet baked goods, and cosmetics.

If you’re doing this yourself, the most sustainable (and affordable) material is always what to already have at home: unwanted bed sheets, tee shirts, and scrap material lying about. If there’s nothing at home, try your second hand shop, or the discount bin at your local fabric store. 

3. Newspaper or magazine pages

Instead of buying these new collect old ones from work, your parent’s house, and the local library or coffee shop. 

To make it special, choose a section of the paper or magazine that suits your recipient: the comic strip, the beauty and fashion section, the travel pages, the sports pages, or a fascinating opinion piece. 

Psst… this also provides entertainment for when they’ve finished admiring your gift.

If your recipient is learning a new language – bonus points for finding a paper in that language!

4. Sheet music, old books, maps, blueprints, posters etc.

Anything papery that is destined for the bin – pages of an old torn up book (even better if you choose pages that will resonate with your friend), old posters, old paintings, comic book pages, pictures from your wall calendar, sheet music that you don’t use anymore, blueprints that you don’t need, and your out-of-date Melways. 

If you don’t have these lying around, a second hand shop is the perfect place to thrift them. 

5. Furoshiki

For the artistically minded and nimble fingered, this is an ancient Japanese way of wrapping gifts using squares of fabric. 

Again, source the material from your home or a second hand shop, then check out Youtube for videos to guide you through it.

6. Avoid sticky tape

Instead of sticky tape to bind it all together, try material ribbon (the non-plasticky type of you can), or twine. Then employ some clever folding. This makes it easier for your recipient to reuse the wrapping, and gives your gift a vintage look.

If you must use tape, use as little as you can get away with.

11 Replies to “Six ways to sustainably wrap your gifts”

  1. Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Mikel! We’re glad you liked the post! Good to hear your old room mate was already onto these tips and ideas. Thanks for passing on the article and for letting us know your thoughts!

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